[R], The Ravishing Red little town of Riebeek Kasteel

When you live in one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa, you are guaranteed to be able to put some juice in the tank, and set course in any direction for +/- 60mins and reach a pretty destination whether it is seaside or inland dust and dirt.

In true fashion, mode of transport was decided, destination was undecided.

Getting on the back of the motorbike, it was inevitable, dirt road would be the route as we headed out in the icy air.

Heading out on the Hoopenberg road between the farms, I could breathe, no cars, no petrol fumes, and no stained tar, only dirt under the tyres and open fields and farms and the sound of the engine droning in my ears. Never before have I been so grateful for that sound.

Taking the turn towards Eenzaamheid, the dirt road continued and crossed over towards the town of Wellington. We ended up driving passed this amazing historical bridge, Lady Loch Bridge.

This bridge was built in 1853, started off as a wooden bridge to gain access across the Berg River. It was named “Lady Loch” after the wife of the Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner of South Africa, Sir Henry Loch. In 1910 this wooden bridge was replaced with the first all steel iron bridge in South Africa which is still in use today.

From here we ended up stopping for a quick body warmer in a cup, my ultimate Achilles heel (next to peanut butter of course) some hot chocolate at a little restaurant ‘padstal’ called Du Vlei. Do yourself a favour, their hot chocolate tastes so much better on the stoep with the view than any Macdonalds could ever come close too.

Back on the steel horse we stopped in Riebeek Kasteel a few minutes later.

If you blink to fast, or yawn too big, you may miss this little beauty that is hidden away.

Riebeek Kasteel is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, it is situated in the Riebeek Valley.

This town is small, quaint and simple beauty. Trees still tower over houses, and the streets are still narrow. There are pokey little shops on every corner and the most amazing décor in the restaurants, you may forget to order your food while gazing at the artwork on the walls.

Not even to mention the amazing majestic Dutch reformed church that towers above all the houses in this little gem. The church was built in 1863, and still looks spectacular. With this church, this little town also boasts the oldest hotel in South Africa, the Royal Hotel.

Our next waterhole was definitely the beautiful rustic restaurant called the Red Tin Roof.

Walking up the stairs of the stoep, we were greeted by some friendly for legged friends that kept us company while we visited, and the atmosphere was peaceful, quiet, and a moment you won’t get while sitting in any Spur or Dros. Pretty, bright colored, and rustic beauty.

Friendly faces all round remind you that you are in a small town, where traffic lights are non-existent and fairy lights and candles are plentiful.

Looking at the time, most of the town starts dying down, Sunday means early home time.

So with regret we paid the bill, grabbed the helmets and got back on the bike with a bittersweet feeling, sad to leave this beautiful place, but grateful to know the open road waited for us, to discover the next little gem on our map.

Where to next,

We don’t know yet…


BackroadriderZA & YellowClarity

The Alphabet Run 

Where it comes together from A-Z [Alphabet Run]

Accidentally an Adventure fell into our laps when we met eachother a few months ago, the “hiking explorer by foot” meets the “biking explorer by dirt rubber”

We have up until now been on a few expeditions together and have seen quaint little gems and also magnificent overwhelming mountains together, on foot, on a mountain bicycle, in a car, barefoot on the sand and then kitted in zips and velcro on a motorbike.

The concept of this trip report site was Carel’s idea to be able to explore the hidden ugly ducklings of our country, the small one horse towns that you usually drive passed on your journey to somewhere pretty and more appropriate for a holiday destination. So we will discover these little random old towns and definitely without a doubt there will be some kind of beauty or hidden story just waiting to be discovered.

…. Something about Callie as he is better known by his friends …

[BackroadriderZA / Carel van der Merwe]

(An extract from his blog post ‘Life behind bars’)

” I never could have imagine that something like a motorbike would ever change my life and even my point of view towards life and nature in the way it did. Shortly after buying my first bike I joined the BMW Motorrad Club in Cape Town. They are a very active club and up to date I have been on numerous day rides and weekend trips, I have attended offroad training sessions and all sorts of other informative sessions that have improved my riding skills, safety as well as the safety of my fellow bikers and other road users. and also how to be of assistance in the case of an emergency or accident.

“Life behind bars”…. To most people these words mean entrapment or imprisonment, but for me it means freedom. Motorbiking becomes a lifestyle and a part of you. that is very hard to explain to others.  “Driving in a car is like watching a movie. Riding a bike is like featuring  in the movie. You become part of it. All your senses are being used, you feel the wind, the cold, the rain, the heat, you smell all the different smells like the sweet smell of the fynbos to the cow dung in the fields.” I am fortunate to live in one of the provinces that offers a very wide variety and diversity of gravel roads, beautiful and interesting places and small towns to visit. In the almost 5 years of riding I’m on my second motorbike and have done over 60 000km of exploring on the roads less traveled and small towns most people probably haven’t even heard of yet.

The last couple of years I’ve made some new friends, experienced a companionship between bikers and a passion to help people in need like never before. Not to mention the roads that I’ve ridden or the places that I’ve visited. There is just a brotherhood between bikers, no matter what type or brand of bike you ride, as long as you ride. Giving an oncoming bike a nod with the head became a habit that I’ve even found I do when I’m driving in my cage (car).”

… Something about Jane, as she is better known amongst friends and family…

[Yellowclarity / Jani Casteling]

(An extract from her blog post ‘Selected & Chosen’)

To be alive in a time like this is a blessing, to be able to explore and embrace the good and the bad is a privelage that isnt awarded to everyone, we have been chosen for this adventure at this specific time, even despite the fact that benching ourselves for this match sometimes seems to be the easier choice, to play the innings or take a knee. Who are we kidding? Where is the fun in taking a knee? Where is the fun in benching ourselves next to the orange slices and water bottles?

We are human, yes, fear is natural, I believe so, yes. We all have our reasons for fearing the certain innings of our own game, and usually, that little thing called a past, is the reason why you take yourself out, because somewhere in the past, you missed your homerun or got struck out after the third pitch. So the fear of losing something, is your preventative measure for entering the stadium.

“When you become fearless, life becomes limitless”

By choice we decide what type of game we are going to play, can we give it all? Or will 50% suffice?

We have been chosen to live well, so why dont we ?

We have been chosen to live an adventure, why do we hold back and view others from the sideline with envy and wish it was us, when in actual fact, we took ourselves out of the game.

We have been chosen to encourage and mentor people we come into contact with, yet our lips part faster for criticism and painful lashes of the tongue.

We have been chosen to love unconditionally, yet fear of past hurts have built concrete walls of a prison cell around our fragile broken hearts.

We have been chosen to laugh and smile, yet these days we use anti wrinkle cream to smooth out the forehead and not the laugh wrinkles around our eyes.

We have been chosen to leave a legacy, yet sometimes our reactions are quick and angry and leave a bad taste in the mouthes of those we love.

We have been chosen to be courageous, not ashamed of who we are or where we came from.

We have been chosen to be EPIC

So that is a little piece of both of us. We are from very different backgrounds, grew up worlds apart, the one thing we do have in common is love and passion for fresh air and simple beauty in the daily canvasses painted for us.

We have shared km’s of dirt already and have some insane adventures planned. Where will the journey end up going too, neither of us know yet but I guess thats what makes it exciting?

This blog is a fun way for us to track memories, adventures, and beautiful moments shared with our earth and the beauty that lives in it.

We look forward to tracking these memories and sharing them with whoever enjoys the blog.

BackroadriderZA & YellowClarity (plain8jane)